Letter | Published:

Inhibiting Action of Fluorophosphonates on Cholinesterase

Nature volume 158, page 625 (02 November 1946) | Download Citation



IN connexion with the interesting report1 by Dr. M. Dixon and Dr. D. M. Needham on “Biochemical Research on Chemical Warfare Agents”, we should like to mention that the first observations on the cholinesterase-inhibiting action of fluorophosphonates were made in 19412. At that time the dimethyl and diethyl fluorophosphonates only were known; these compounds are somewhat less toxic than the diisopropyl fluorophosphonate, but otherwise have similar effects. The long-lasting constriction of the pupil produced by dimethyl fluorophosphonate suggested a mode of action like that of eserine, and we found that, like eserine, it strongly inhibited the cholinesterase activity of human plasma. When the more toxic di-isopropyl fluorophosphonate was prepared, we found that it had a more potent inhibiting action on cholinesterase3.

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  1. 1.

    Nature, 158, 432 (1946).

  2. 2.

    Report XZ.71 to the Min. of Supply, October 1941.

  3. 3.

    Report XZ.111 to the Min. of Supply, November 1942.

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  1. Physiological Laboratory, Cambridge.

    • E. D. ADRIAN
    • , W. FELDBERG
    •  & B. A. KILBY


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